Rep. Steve Holt (R-Denison) stood to speak Thursday in defense of the legislation defining antisemitism in the Iowa House. Holt pointed out that every Democrat who encountered the bill in subcommittee and committee supported the proposed law.
“As chair of Judiciary, I think a little bit of history on House File 2303 is in order based upon the comments that have been made tonight. There are 48 cosponsors, that includes Rep. Running-Marquardt, minority leader Prichard, Rep. Donahue, Rep. McKean and Rep. Steckman.
“This bill had a subcommittee, not a word of what has been said on this floor tonight was mentioned. This bill had a committee, not a word of what was said tonight was mentioned in this committee. All Republicans and all Democrats unanimously voted for House File 2504 out of committee.
“That includes Rep. Wolfe, Rep. Bennett, Rep. Derry, Rep. Konfrst, Rep. Meyer, Rep. Oldson, Rep. Olson, Rep. Wilburn and Rep. Wessel-Kroeschell.”
Prichard attempted to make a point of order against Holt, claiming Holt wasn’t speaking on the legislation. He lost that attempt.
“As I was stating, every Republican and every Democrat on the Judiciary Committee voted for House File 2504. It was unanimously voted out.
“Now some of the individuals on the Judiciary committee that said not a word during this entire process have now stood up on the floor of this chamber tonight and called this bill discriminatory, divisive, that it’s meant to divide — my goodness, the words in this bill are exactly the same as they were in committee and they’re exactly the same as they were in subcommittee. So either, in my opinion, somebody didn’t bother to read the bill or somehow something has radically changed between when this bill passed unanimously out of subcommittee and out of committee and when it got to the floor.
“So, based upon the comments that have been made tonight, all of the Republicans in the Judiciary Committee who supported this legislation and all of the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee who supported this legislation are ill-informed and cannot possibly understand the ramifications of this bill because some of us are the wrong skin color. I categorically reject that.
“Just a little while ago, in reference to this bill, those of us in this chamber unanimously supported stopping a particular kind of defense. We didn’t need to be gay or we didn’t need to be transgender in order to know, in order to understand.
“So, I will just simply say one more thing in reference to what has been stated tonight on the floor. In reference to this bill, some legal scholars have suggested that protected classes in code are discriminatory against those who are not protected classes, but the courts have rejected that idea. We have a number of protected classes in code, and the fact that this bill is attempting to define antisemitism in doing what it does simply because this particular bill says that is not in any way trying to leave out someone else, just like these protected classes were put in at different times. When one was put into code didn’t mean that it was discriminatory against all the others that weren’t mentioned. So, again, as I have sat here tonight listening to this, it blows me away, blows me away, that this went through subcommittee and committee with 48 sponsors, five of whom were Democrats, that every Judiciary Democrat voted for this bill, but somehow between then and now it has become the way it has been described the way it is tonight.”